DMI to host Sound Advice event

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The Delta Music Institute, an entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University, is set to host “SOUND ADVICE: Audio Production with DPA,” a two-day event featuring audio demonstrations, product reviews, recording sessions, and live sound reinforcement workshops with representatives from DPA Microphones.

The event is scheduled for February 22-23 at the DMI and other venues on the campus of Delta State. The interactive sessions are designed to offer entertainment industry students and area audio professionals opportunities to receive professional training on world-class equipment and hands-on instruction in live sound reinforcement, in addition to participating in a professional recording session workshop. There is no admission fee for any of the demonstration sessions.

Sessions will include topics such as “Post Production and ADR,” “Live Sound Reinforcement 2.0,” “Microphone Techniques 101,” “Recording Session Road Map,” and more. Sessions will feature product demonstrations, tutorials, and workshops presented by Christopher Spahr and Gabriel Antonini of DPA Microphones.

Christopher Spahr holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Barry University and a Recording Arts Associate’s degree from Full Sail University. Spahr’s 20-year career spans the music, recording arts and pro sound industries. He currently serves as the VP of Sales & Marketing for DPA Microphones.  Prior to that he oversaw U.S. sales and operations of professional audio metering products for RTW International, and was the Market Development Manager and certified U.S. RF expert for both the installed sound and professional channels of Sennheiser.  He has also served as Staff Engineer at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, where he worked with artists such as Julio Iglesias, Jeff Buckley, Shakira and 2 Live Crew and on music, TV and film projects, including a GRAMMY-winning Latin jazz CD.

Gabriel Antonini has over 25 years experience as a musician/composer, broadcast engineer-editor, producer, FOH mixer and AV consultant. Passionate about sound and the microphones that capture it, Gabriel strives to bring that appreciation to a national audience. Gabriel has been nominated for 11 TV Emmys for categories such as outstanding technical achievement, content producer, and original music. He was also the main lead audio designer/mixer for the post 911-tribute world audio feed from the Statue of Liberty. In addition to his responsibilities at DPA in sales and as manager of new business development in the USA, Gabriel has worked as audio post editor/live mixer for local and national music/news programs, including the sound team for NBC Universal and PBS-NJN. Recently, his favorite project has been touring with new recording artist Melody Gardot, with whom he has toured with in Europe and SE Asia.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State University, offering a B.S. degree in Entertainment Industry Studies degree. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative, and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, visit For information about the Sound Advice event, call (662) 846-4579 or email

South Central chapter names Outstanding Alumnus

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently held its annual South Central Mississippi Chapter event in Brookhaven. This year, the chapter recognized Dr. Bob Watson ’89 as its Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.

Originally from the Delta, Watson graduated from Cleveland High School and Delta State University before graduating from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. In 1996, he married Dr. Dianne Watson, also a veterinarian. Together, they own Brookhaven Animal Hospital.

Watson was selected as Mississippi’s Young Veterinarian of the Year in 2004. He served as vice president of the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association in 2009 and as president of the MVMA in 2010.

He and Dianne attend Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon. When not following his children’s’ ballgames or rodeos, Watson enjoys hunting and fishing.

Over 50 alumni and friends attended this year’s event at Mitchell’s Steak and Seafood, with 11 prospective students in attendance.

Alumni Director Jeffrey Farris gave a report on the university. Assistant Alumni Director Jordan Thomas was also in attendance and streamed the entire program live on Periscope. Sponsors for this year’s event were: WGK Engineers and Surveyors, Inc., Nena Smith School of Dance, Trustmark Bank and Magnolia Electric Company.

To view photos from the affair, visit

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Go Green Weekend (April 2), Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

Sykes and Schmidt honored by state

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Two Delta State honorees were recently recognized at the 29th annual HEADWAE program in Jackson.

Higher Education Appreciation Day — Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) was established by legislative resolution to honor individual academic achievement and the overall contribution of the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.

The annual event honors outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi public and private universities.

This year’s Delta State honorees included Mikel Sykes, a senior social science and history double major from Winona and the late Dr. Ethan Schmidt, a history professor who was the victim of a fatal shooting on Sept. 14, 2015.

Sykes is a two-term SGA student body president, former orientation leader, vice president of the IHL student body presidents council, and the recipient of the Delta State University Bobby Rowe Outstanding Leadership award.

“It is always great to be recognized for something, especially on the state level, but I have to say that the highlight of the event for me was opening up the program and seeing the picture of Dr. Ethan Schmidt,” said Sykes. “I usually don’t keep copies of programs like that, but I made an exception for this one.”

Schmidt, who taught at Delta State for two and a half years, worked as an assistant professor of American history in the Division of Social Sciences and History. On campus, he served as the director of the First Year Seminar Program and organized the university’s inaugural Native American Heritage Month celebration. He was also a member of the Delta State University Diversity Committee.

Elizabeth Schmidt, wife of Ethan, accepted the award on his behalf. Dr. Charles Westmoreland, assistant professor of history, represented the university at the ceremony.

“I was extremely humbled and honored to represent Delta State on this important occasion,” said Westmoreland. “Ethan had a profound impact on Delta State because, above all else, he loved being part of a university family. He loved teaching. He loved listening to and imparting advice to students. He loved working with colleagues to find ways to improve our academic programs and enhance student success. He loved going to campus lectures, plays and sporting events. Furthermore, as much as possible, he loved making his own family a part of this university’s culture.

“In just two short years, Dr. Ethan Schmidt left an indelible mark on Delta State and made it a better place for everyone who walks on this campus. His legacy will be felt for many, many years to come.”

Honorees began the day with a visit to the State Capitol, where they were welcomed by Governor Phil Bryant, recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives, and given a tour of the Capitol.

Click here for a list of 2015-16 HEADWAE honorees.

First responders receive Medal of Valor for selfless service

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Three Delta State police officers who were the first to respond to the shooting on campus this past September were recently awarded Medals of Valor for their selfless service.

In a ceremony attended by members of the officers’ families, members of the President’s Cabinet and the officers of the Student Government Association, the three men received formal medals as well as pins to be worn in everyday service. Receiving medals were Delta State Police Chief Lynn Buford, Captain Mark Kimbell and Captain Donald Bradshaw.

“These heroes of Delta State went room-to-room and office-to-office in Jobe Hall – not knowing what they might encounter behind each closed door – in order to secure the building and to safely remove all occupants,” said President William N. LaForge. “Your bravery during this most difficult time was the ultimate commitment to the students, faculty and staff, who you protect every day.”

Assisting LaForge in the ceremony were Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Butch Caston and Mikel Sykes, president of the Student Government Association.

“On behalf of the students, I want to thank you so much for what you did and what you do every day to keep us safe,” Sykes added.

The Medal of Valor, which was presented to each of the three men, is an award for bravery, given for individual acts of extraordinary heroism performed in the line of duty at extreme, life-threatening personal risk. It recognizes offers whose actions are considered as having gone above and beyond the call of duty, and to recognize an officer who has performed an act of bravery – displaying an extreme amount of courage while knowingly facing imminent danger, LaForge explained.

African American Student Council hosts Black History Month events

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The African American Student Council at Delta State University has been busy hosting events in honor of Black History Month.

This year’s theme is “Honoring the Past, Inspiring Our Future.” Visit the group’s Facebook page to view the full schedule of activities at

AASC exists to allow the participation of all people in the promotion of black cultural, intellectual and social interests at the university and the surrounding community. Established on campus several years ago, membership is open to every undergraduate and graduate student at the university.

The council works to uplift the conscious awareness of the African American student politically, culturally, and intellectually; promote leadership and scholarship; encourage positive contributions to the community; stimulate the interest of African American students in university affairs and functions; and to cultivate an increased awareness and appreciation of ethnicity and the contributions of African Americans and others throughout history to the benefit of all mankind.

AASC will hold its fall induction ceremony Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lena Roberts Sillers Chapel.

Delta State University benefits from the on-campus presence of African American Student Council as the group works to further explore and acknowledge the scope of cultural diversity within the university and community from many perspectives,” said advisor Stedmond Ware. “AASC offers opportunities to work together toward planning university events, promoting unity on campus and in the community, and enhancing African American culture.

The group has actively been involved in promoting awareness of breast cancer and sickle cell anemia by providing information to students, and financially contributing to the Delta Cotton Belles of Greenville. Additionally, AASC continues to support the university’s annual Winning the Race Conference, provide canned food donations for local African American church stewpot programs, and host an annual Christmas get-together.

Those interested in becoming a member, or to learn more about AASC, contact Aja Buckhalter, president, at